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04-08-2009, 04:45 PM   #1
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Pentax 600mm F4 front filter

I recently found out that my 600mm F4 FA* will take a front filter of 150mm - anyone ever hear of a filter in this size? Even though the lens construction of this lens is such that the front element is sacrificial - its most likely at this juncture impossible to get if damaged.

Also anyone ever hear of an aftermarket polarized drop in filter for this lens - it would be the same as the one for the 300mm per my understanding. I have seen this go on eBay but $500 for a filter is a bit steep.

04-08-2009, 06:07 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturephoto1P Quote
I recently found out that my 600mm F4 FA* will take a front filter of 150mm - anyone ever hear of a filter in this size? Even though the lens construction of this lens is such that the front element is sacrificial - its most likely at this juncture impossible to get if damaged.

Also anyone ever hear of an aftermarket polarized drop in filter for this lens - it would be the same as the one for the 300mm per my understanding. I have seen this go on eBay but $500 for a filter is a bit steep.
B+W probably makes filters that big, pentax might too, for that matter.
Prepare to pay a whole lot of money and find that it makes the lens soft.
No idea on the drop in filter.
04-08-2009, 06:20 PM   #3
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Big filters cost big bucks.
04-23-2009, 06:36 PM   #4
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I've got the older model F*

If you set up a search on e-bay you will occasionally see a polarizer go by. The part number for the FA* is 35184. (Rear drop in polarizer). They are no longer available from Pentax. The buy it now on Ebay is usually between 400 and 500. If you use the lens hood and the cap, I wouldn't bother with the front filter. For mine, I'm adapting an old Tamron drop in filter holder to build a polarizer. It's not perfect but with the APS-C I have some room to be imperfect.

Here's and example, but this will not fit your lens. It's for a 67 rather than a 35mm.

PENTAX 600mm 645 CPL POLARIZING DROP IN FILTER MINT!! - (eBay.ca item 360147491681 end time 15-May-09 21:08:53 EDT)

Ian

04-28-2009, 11:48 AM   #5
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I have seen the polarizer go through ebay for $495 - its a fairly simple construction. I wonder if you can still get the filter drawer for the 600 from Pentax parts.

Same guy selling the 645 polarizer is the one that had the one for the 600mm

Let me know how your construction of the drop in comes along as I might do something similar. For $500 I can probably figure it out - its just a circular PL filter that rotates with a couple of gears and a drive shaft after all.
04-29-2009, 09:44 AM   #6
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In the manual for the 600/4 lens it says, "The PF (Protective Front) filter screws into the lens front to protect the lens front element. The PF filter (150mm) comes built into the 600mm f/4 ED (IF) lens. The PF filter is always recommended for use as it is designed to work as part of the optical system."

If you take it off and place it on a white sheet of paper you'll see that is has a slightly pinkish color cast like a mild skylight filter.

Canon's 600/4 uses a flat glass front element that isn't easily screwed on and off like the Pentax PF's, but serves the same function. That company simply built it into the lens design so you can't choose to remove it. The presumption is that it would be replaceable for far less cost than an actual element.

In the case of the Pentax 150mm PF filter, since they still sell the 600/4 lens, I have to presume they still build that filter on custom order. Seems like the replacement used to list for over $600 more than 10 years ago. A custom one nowadays might flirt with $1000. Moral of the story...don't scratch up the PF filter just as you wouldn't want to scratch up a front element!

Also note that with the drop-in filter you may find focusing issues without a filter installed in the filter drawer. Basically, the optics are designed to have a piece of glass installed in the drop-in slot. The manual says that even with a gel filter slipped into the clamps you should still, "screw the NORMAL filter [one of the six supplied filters with that lens] into the filter holder as it is designed to work as part of the optical system."

I haven't ever tried using the FA* lenses without a filter and generally keep the CLOUDY filter installed in/on all my lenses whether drop-in or screw-on. Just love the color cast of the Pentax CLOUDY filters. Note that when I tried using the M*400/4 67 lens without a drop-in, I had real focus problems. That lens takes a 112mm front filter but was not originally sold with it. I found a Pentax 112 PF filter used and installed it without causing focusing issues...

Ideally, you'll want to try to find the Pentax version of the rotating circ. polarizer. It's great. If you must build your own...I suggest trying to build the drop-in polarizer drawer so the glass lines up in the exact plane as the filter position in the standard drop-in drawer. If you vary the position forward or back you may notice focus issues that look kind of like diffraction effect.

BTW, I have the drop-in rotating polarizer for the FA* lenses with drop-in filter slots (300/2.8, 600/4 and 250-600/5.6). It is a phenomenal piece of equipment and works really well the time or two per year when I actually use it. Marc Langille of these forums uses his with the 300/2.8 a bit more than I use mine with the other two lenses. The 2.8 lens can sacrifice a stop of light to the polarizer more easily than I can give up a stop on the f/4 and f/5.6 lenses in my kit.

Haven't ever seen a rotating circ. pol. drop-in for the F* lenses. There is a Pentax rotating circ. pol drop-in for the M* medium format lenses (400/4 and 800/6.7) which works and fits great like the FA* version. I actually use it more often than the smaller FA* version as I use that lens for landscape extractions more often than I use the big FA* guns for landscape work.

Have fun! There's nothing like shooting the "heavy artillery!"
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